Oregon football uniforms: A 2013-2014 ranking

Ever since I saw Joey Harrington and Onterrio Smith trot onto the field at Autzen Stadium in 27 different shades of green, yellow, black and white, I was hooked on the Ducks and those uniforms. Growing up in this generation, sports uniforms play into fandom more than the older set would like to admit. Sure, Penn State, Alabama, Texas, etc. have their iconic uniforms that probably should be left alone, but those programs also have lengthy histories and developed fanbases.

For schools who aren’t as long on past successes, an expensive closet can help make people notice and bring in recruits. Oregon has headed the class in doing just that, and the uniform set is down to a science. That’s why I’m going to rank the Ducks from 1-26 on their uniforms for the past two seasons. Only two uniforms have been repeated in that time frame.

26. Jan. 12, 2015 vs. Ohio State in 2015 College Football Playoff (White/White/Gray)

26 oregon ohio state 1-12-15

I’ve already dogged this thoughtless piece of work on Twitter, and most people didn’t agree with me, so I’m betting we’re off to a slow start, but hear me out. You’re on the brightest stage in the sport, you’re known for flaunting every shade of your school colors, and you decide to get rid of all of it? It makes no sense. Even if they had used the white jersey with kelly green numbers, it would’ve moved higher on the list (as you’ll see later). You’ll also see that I apparently just don’t like the gray that the school attached itself to in the past couple seasons.

25. Nov. 23, 2013 @ Arizona (Black/White/Gray)

25 oregon arizona 11-23-13

Interesting that my two least favorite uniforms came in two of the Ducks’ four losses in the past two seasons. Maybe they agree with me on the “look good, play good” philosophy. Adding the black helmet over the white one was a step up in my book, and using the same gray in the number that’s on the pants worked better for me than the championship duds. It’s still colorless and kind of blah, though. It also came in the same game where Arizona wore all red, making it one of the few games where the opponent is the one making the fashion statement.

24. Sept. 13, 2014 vs. Wyoming (Black/Emerald/Gray)

24 oregon wyoming 9-13-14We finally have a splash of color, though Oregon chose the darker, emerald style green over the brighter kelly shade. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this uniform. It just doesn’t do it for me. I like that the jersey has yellow accents, but I wish we had more brightness throughout. It’s a solid uniform, but it’s not one of the better ones for this program.

23. Oct. 24, 2014 @ Cal (Black/White/Gray)

23 oregon cal 10-24-14

This is the same uniform as the combo at No. 25, but they got out of their own way and used the jersey with the kelly green numbers and wings. Apparently a year later they saw the error of their ways. This jersey (as you’ll see) is one of my favorite ones, but we’re still mired in this gray revolution. I do like the camo leggings they also wore in the national championship, but it’s not enough.

22. Sept. 7, 2013 @ Virginia (Chrome/White/Gray)

22 oregon virginia 9-7-13

Can we please make these pants go away? They’re the only common thread in every uniform we’ve seen so far. What sets this uniform apart from the ones we’ve seen so far is what I consider a superior helmet to those others. Three of the four so far were the black matte finish with silver wings, and that’s a good look, but I’m more partial to this chrome dome with yellow accents. Either way, I’m still excited to continue moving forward.

21. Oct. 19, 2013 vs. Washington State (Pink/Black/Black)

21 oregon wazzu 10-19-13

Hooray! This one is totally different than what we’ve seen so far! Actually, it’s extremely different. With the pink helmet, Oregon became the first major college to wear equipment dedicated to breast cancer awareness instead of just accessories. The look is solid. They made a good choice going all black because, out of all of their uniform combos, it goes best with the pink lid.

20. Oct. 2, 2014 vs. Arizona (Black/Black/Black)

20 oregon arizona 10-2-14

It’s simple coincidence that both the breast cancer awareness uniforms ended up next to each other. The difference between the two is that this one just looks more polished. They saw that all black worked the year before, but the pink numbers and names seemed to pop in a better way than the helmet the year before. Maybe they’ll switch back to the original next year, though, given they lost this game.

19. Oct. 26, 2013 vs. UCLA and Nov. 22, 2014 vs. Colorado (Emerald/Emerald/Emerald)

19 oregon colorado 11-22-14 and ucla 10-26-13

This is a solid monocolor uniform, but it’s only No. 19 because it just didn’t do a lot for me. I’ve never been a huge fan of the emerald helmet. I’ve always liked the yellow and chrome models better, and I think this uniform would’ve popped more with a yellow number. The Ducks must like it well enough because it’s one of just two uniform combos they’ve used twice in the past two seasons.

18. Nov. 16, 2013 vs. Utah (Chrome/Olive/Olive)

18 oregon utah 11-16-13

I like this uniform a lot more than it seems given it’s No. 18. The fact is, I really like a lot of these coming up. The Ducks went with kind of an Army green/olive color against Utah, and it really worked. What they did right was pair it with the yellow numbers and shoes. Those pop against the drab jersey and pant color, and they help it in ways that the gray didn’t on the last uniform. This is the only time we’ve seen this shade in the past two years, and I’m curious why that’s the case.

17. Aug. 31, 2013 vs. Nicholls State (White/White/White)

17 oregon nichols state 8-31-13

And you thought I only liked the colored uniforms! This white combo with the chrome numbers and wings is about as clean as a uniform gets, and I really like it. You’ll see there’s an all white I like better coming up later, but this was a very good choice for an August season opener.

16. Oct. 5, 2013 @ Colorado (Emerald/White/Emerald)

16 oregon colorado 10-5-13

Another extremely solid uniform, but it falls short mainly because of my already stated distaste for the emerald helmet. It’s overselling it to say I don’t like it. There are just ones I like better. What this uniform gets right are the all-white shoes. The alternating emerald/white/emerald/white from top to bottom is extremely pleasing aesthetically.

15. Nov. 7, 2013 @ Stanford and Nov. 8, 2014 @ Utah (Yellow/White/Yellow)

15 oregon stanford 11-7-13 and utah 11-8-14

It’s the same uniform as No. 16, but I prefer the yellow over the emerald. I think there’s an argument to be made that the emerald looks more like a natural away uniform while the yellow has the look of an alternate away kit, but I’ve always been a fan of the yellow helmet with chrome wings. Apparently the Ducks agree since this is the other uniform that was used in both 2013 and 2014. I’m not sure how to describe the iridescent hued number and jersey wings, but I think they work well with this combo.

14. Sept. 28, 2013 vs. Cal (Black/Kelly/Kelly)

14 oregon cal 9-28-13Here’s the debut of the all kelly green look. This is a personal favorite of mine, but the black doesn’t give it enough of a pop in my eyes. I’ve always felt kelly and black go naturally together, and I would absolutely use this uniform at some point during the season. My main problem is just that the matte black helmet continues to fall a little short for me.

13. Oct. 12, 2013 @ Washington (Chrome/White/White)

13 oregon washington 10-12-13As far as a white uniform goes, this one gets very high marks from me. Being white, you don’t want the yellow number like on a darker jersey. The thick yellow outline is a great look around the dark number, though. Also, this is one of the few jerseys we’ve seen where the duck wings are lighter than the numbers, and I think it works. The gradient of the wings on the jersey also work with the gradient on the helmet wings. As for that helmet, I think it’s a beauty. To get the chrome helmet and incorporate both colors on the jersey numbers…it all just clicks.

12. Sept. 6, 2014 vs. Michigan State (Chrome/Yellow/Yellow)

12 oregon mich st 9-6-14

Hail to the yellow. About once a season we see Oregon in all yellow, and you either love it or hate it. Judging by my ranking, it’s a clear love. I’ve already said I love the chrome and yellow dome, but I will admit that it’s not my favorite with this uniform. I can’t help but feel like the jersey is a slightly darker yellow than the pants as well. I’m not sure if that’s true or not.

11. Dec. 30, 2013 vs. Texas in Alamo Bowl (Emerald/White/White)

11 oregon texas alamo bowl 12-30-13

When the Ducks played Texas in the Alamo Bowl to end the 2013 season, they unveiled the white/kelly jersey for the first time, and how sweet it was. Prior to that, kelly had only been used as a jersey color, not a jersey accent, but it’s undeniable how nice that shade of green looks on the stark white. My biggest problem with this kit is that the kelly numbered jersey doesn’t match the emerald helmet. They don’t look awful together, but it’s noticeable and a reason why this uniform isn’t any higher. I would’ve taken the chrome helmet over that one.

10. Nov. 29, 2013 @ Oregon State (Emerald/Kelly/Yellow)

10 oregon oregon st 11-29-13

Let’s not parse words. This is my favorite uniform bar none if we’re talking from the shoulders down. That’s without question. The problem is the emerald helmet sticks out like a sore thumb. The lighter shade of yellow and the bright kelly green are natural matches, but you can’t really mix shades of green and get away with it. Put the yellow helmet on this combo, and I think you have perfection in my mind.

9. Sept. 14, 2013 vs. Tennessee (Yellow/Yellow/Yellow)

09 oregon tennessee 9-14-13

The Ducks actually got yellow right the first time around, and then they messed it up a little bit with the 2014 version. If you’re going all yellow, go all the way and use the yellow helmet as well. This combo is loud, but it’s supposed to be. Adding in with the creamsicle of Tennessee in that game was hard on the eyes, so it would’ve probably been better suited against someone like a Washington, but it’s a clean and standout combo.

8. Nov. 1, 2014 vs. Stanford (Black/Black/Black)

Stanford v Oregon

Oregon wore all black twice this season (the other being the pink game), but this is an outstanding combo if you’re going away from your prerequisite green. I’m thankful they didn’t try to get green into the accents because it probably would have mucked it up, but I would’ve been happier with a yellow number over a yellow outlined silver number. The all black kit is the only time I prefer the matte black helmet, though they could’ve got away with the chrome helmet since the jersey has the silver number.

7. Jan. 1, 2015 vs. Florida State in Rose Bowl (Kelly/Kelly/Kelly)

Rose Bowl

Usually Oregon uses its bowl game to debut something that will be used the next year. Last year it was the kelly green numbers on a white jersey. This year, perhaps it was the matte green helmet and the lack of discernible wings on the helmet and the jersey. That was the only change to the black and green combo the Ducks used in September, 2013. I think the green helmet is and upgrade on the matte black, especially because it has the green facemask. I can understand why some might find it as too much green, and I would agree. Put yellow pant on this combo, and it might be No. 1.

6. Oct. 18, 2014 vs. Washington (Yellow/Kelly/Yellow)

Washington v Oregon

This the only time in the countdown where we’ve seen the yellow/kelly/yellow combo I’ve been looking for, and it being a throwback gives it that much more clout. I was really excited to see the team’s take on a throwback, and they didn’t disappoint. Getting the original Daffy Duck logo on the sleeve was a necessary touch, and I’d love it if the team use this uniform once a year.

5. Oct. 11, 2014 @ UCLA (White/White/White)

05 oregon ucla 10-11-14

As far as white uniforms go, it gets no better. Everything goes together, and the use of the white/kelly jersey is the perfect pop on an otherwise stark surface. No doubt the Ducks were fond of this combo as well since they pulled it out for a huge Pac12 match up on the road against an eventual top ten opponent. The only thing I could have even tried to tweak on here is for the wings on the helmet to be a green/silver gradient just like the jersey, but that’s just nitpicking.

4. Sept. 20, 2014 vs. Washington State (Yellow/Black/Yellow)

04 oregon wazzu 9-20-14

An absolute thing of beauty, especially against a team wearing all white. The yellow pops in all the right places, and it was a great idea to use the black socks instead of the yellow ones. Like one of the others earlier, it has the perfect aesthetic of yellow/black/yellow/black/yellow. With this color combo the only possible tweak could be a yellow number, but I actually really like it as is.

3. Dec. 5, 2014 vs. Arizona in Pac 12 Championship (White/Kelly/White)

Pac-12 Championship - Arizona v Oregon

Clean, clean, clean. There’s something about the white helmet that really pulls this uniform together. If the helmet was any other color it wouldn’t be ranked as high. I think the dark wings on the jersey are out of place and could’ve been a logical yellow or even an outside the box white and looked even better, but there’s not much to complain about here. This is a perfect combination of statement and class.

2. Aug. 30, 2014 vs. South Dakota (White/White/Kelly)

02 oregon south dakota 8-30-14

I already gushed about the all-white uniform with the kelly accents on the jersey, but I like it even better when you bring that shade to the pant as well. The Ducks must have really wanted to make a statement out of the gate to use this uniform on South Dakota, but I don’t care who it was against. I love it.

1. Nov. 29, 2014 vs. Oregon State (Yellow/Kelly/Kelly)

01 oregon oregon state 11-29-14

As if there was a doubt. I’m clearly in love with the kelly and yellow combinations and this is the best of the bunch. I was begging for more yellow on the Rose Bowl uniform, and this brought just that. The Ducks went with a monocolor jersey/pant set, but the yellow leggings add enough to make it not seem too thoughtless. The yellow helmet looks as good with this uniform as it could with anything else, and the cleats are perfect. Once again, I’d be open to experimenting with yellow wings on the jersey, but really this is a beauty.